My father does not read blogs.
He knows that I write, and he’s supportive, but he doesn’t have Facebook, doesn’t spend a lot of time online. That just isn’t him.
My father prefers a tactile world. A world where he can feel the trees and earth under his feet. He hunts and builds and works with his hands. I’ve learned a lot from him about work. I’ve learned honesty, integrity, and ethics, how to finish what I start and that my efforts can get me anywhere I want to go. Yes, from him I learned how to work well.
I didn’t learn how to exist.
When I felt the inner pull to move back home, back to my parents’ house, I knew there was a reason. Something needed mending, but I didn’t know what. I was gone for a long time. I felt there was something I needed to make up for as a result of my long absence. We could have chosen any city in America, but no, it had to be my hometown. There was something I needed to fix.
We’ve been here exactly eight months now. Living with your parents as an adult is always a challenge. I think we’ve handled it quite well, but it has gotten increasingly difficult for me. The longer I’m here in this house the more I become conscious of the struggle within me between being my father’s daughter and being the woman of my own choice. Finally, after these eight months, I see what needs mending…it’s me.
It is hard to sit still in the house of a man who doesn’t quit. He rises with the sun and often doesn’t rest until after it sets. I am not like him. I day dream and read novels. Most of my life is in the world of my thoughts. And I worry, the same worry from my childhood, that this is a disappointment to him.
I need to impress my father. Can you relate?
Ray and I had a profound conversation yesterday about how we view ourselves versus how others see us. He brought up the topic and I spilled my guts. All the ways in which I feel I don’t measure up to my father’s ideals came out. How I feel I have to make him happy. Proud of me. In my childish thoughts, so easily resurrected in this house, I still tell myself that I have to work hard to gain his approval.
Something reminded me otherwise.
Some old friends of ours recently had their first baby. Seeing their pictures brought back all the memories of when Kai was born. For two days after his birth, he didn’t have a name. We wanted something meaningful, something that would capture all the love we had for him as well as our hopes for what he would be. Finally we agreed on an Arabic name meaning “existence.” “Being.” The same word used in the Arabic Bible when God created the world; He spoke, and it existed. It existed, and He loved it for that.
When my son was born I finally understood what it meant to love and be loved without working for it. I finally understood how my own parents loved me, beyond ways that my childish mind could comprehend. What it meant to be loved simply because I exist.
We inherit so much through blood. Values and lies flow down through the ages shaping how we see.
Truth goes against that flow.
From my father I’ve learned how to work. But from my son, I’ve learned, and continue to learn, how to exist. I suspect my own struggles to strive and impress have not been just my own. My father has probably struggled just the same. But…truth flows, backwards through our bloodline, washing away the lies. My son is loved because he exists. I am loved because I exist. My father is loved because he exists.
And you…you are loved because you exist.
May we all rest in our own existence.